History was made at midnight on Saturday 29 March when the first same-sex marriages were held across England and Wales.
To mark the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act coming into
effect, an Equal Marriage Fair was held at the Town Hall in Sheffield on Saturday.
Among other things, the event celebrated the campaign for
equality undertaken by Edward Carpenter in the late 19th
century. Born in 1844, Carpenter openly acknowledged
his homosexuality. He lived at Millthorpe,
just outside Sheffield with his long-term partner George Merrill. His radically different lifestyle became a
symbol of liberation from the traditional middle class values of Victorian
England and his writings were an important contribution to the development of
the English socialist movement, and later the gay liberation movement.
Carpenter’s personal papers and extensive library were
bequeathed to Sheffield Libraries upon his death in 1929. These are now at Sheffield Archives and are consulted
by scholars from around the world https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/libraries/archives-and-local-studies/collections/edward-carpenter-collection.html
Pictured (above): Edward Carpenter and George Merrill, (left): display of photographs and documents from Sheffield Archives at the Equal Marriage Fair, 29 March 2014.